More and more, technology has been used to bring the world closer together and empower people and communities globally. From connecting long-distance with loved ones to supporting local businesses, people are finding new ways to form communities.
For Cristiane R., Director of WhatsApp Partnerships in Latin America, technology is giving her the means to help billions of people around the world connect with organizations and gain access to critical information and resources—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to learn about how Cristiane and her team are driving impact—not just in Latin America, but across the globe.
Empowering businesses to better connect with customers across Latin America
“For the past two and a half years, I’ve been working for WhatsApp in Miami leading WhatsApp partnerships for Latin America. My team manages WhatsApp Business’ presence across the region. We have two products: one is an app for small businesses—local restaurants, independent retailers and mom-and-pop shops—that provides a virtual storefront and an easy way to connect with customers.
The other is an API that helps large-scale businesses and enterprises, like KLM Airlines and Booking.com, send updates and important information to customers that opt-in to receive. We’re focused on creating a network of partners across Latin America to help onboard businesses onto the platform. My ultimate vision is for every person to be able to seamlessly connect with a business on WhatsApp.
As part of this work, my team also helps drive key country initiatives across the region. We’re constantly asking ourselves how WhatsApp can do good for the countries we’re in. We realized that one of the biggest ways is by helping citizens connect with local governments on WhatsApp.”
Providing people with important and accurate information during the coronavirus pandemic
“When the COVID-19 outbreak hit, our priorities shifted quickly. There was a huge need for governments to quickly communicate and offer citizens an easy way to get accurate health-related information.
The Singapore government was already on the WhatsApp API and they quickly realized how this connection could help people access the latest updates on the pandemic, have a go-to resource for public health guidance, and debunk false information tied to the outbreak. I remember looking at my colleague and saying, ‘This could help governments all over the world.’
We decided to bring in a larger team, and we began working with health ministries in countries around the world to create a similar, COVID-19-specific hotline on WhatsApp. A month later, we’re now working with many governmental bodies and organizations, including the World Health Organization. We’re also live in more than 45 countries.
People are using WhatsApp in powerful new ways. In India, children are using it for virtual lessons, in the UK, doctors are helping one another and their patients fight the virus, and in New York, people are coordinating a volunteer network on WhatsApp. COVID-19 will eventually pass, but these use cases will remain. That’s why we’re looking ahead and working with governments to help them expand their capabilities with WhatsApp and provide more services to citizens.
My hope is that through this work, we can help make daily, important tasks for people much easier through WhatsApp. We’re navigating uncharted territory. I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but it’s incredibly rewarding.”
Using the power of technology for good
“One of the things I love most about working at the Facebook company is how much good we can do during a time of crisis. It’s times like this when you realize the power of our platform to help people in need. Government agencies, industry leaders, businesses of all sizes, and families use Facebook and WhatsApp to stay connected.
When I travel to different countries and I see real people using our platforms for simple things—from sharing photos to messaging the local ice cream shop—I feel motivated and excited about what we’re working on. Every day, I wake up knowing that I’m building something that will help billions of people around the world. This is what keeps me going.”
We are working on other ways to innovate our platform and products during this pandemic. Find out more about these efforts: